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Health officials say ‘no’ to the morning after pill for teens under 17

In Health & Lifestyles on December 16, 2011 at 7:56 pm

By: Kristyn Blackwood

After much debate, the Plan B One Step pill will not be made readily available to teens under the age of 17 without perscription. Photo courtesy of Google images

The new drug that has just recently become popular in today’s society is the Plan B- morning after pill. It is similar to birth control, but is also very different. Plan B is used to prevent pregnancy as long as it is taken within three days of having unprotected sex. The big controversial issue regarding this pill has been whether or not it should be readily available to teens under the age of 17 without a prescription, thus becoming,  an over-the-counter drug.

            Plan B is chemically wired to avert implantation in a woman of a fertilized egg through the use of the hormone levonorgestrel. Plan B contains 1.5 milligrams of this synthetic hormone, more than “the Pill.” Although many say it is not, the manufacturer of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd, says that it should be made available to younger teens as they need it because it is safe and there is no risk in them taking the drug.

            Kathleen Sebelius of the U.S. Health and Human Services made her decision on the issue Wednesday, December 7. She concluded that this emergency contraceptive, Plan B, will not be readily available to teens under the age of 17 without a prescription. Women 17 or older must provide proof of age before they can purchase it, but they are not required to have a prescription to do so. Sebelius says that she does not think younger teens are capable of following the instructions properly, so it cannot be safe for them.

            Former CEO of a political action group agrees with Sebelius in saying that without adult and medical supervision, young teens could face serious health risks. Teva Pharmaceuticals were taken aback by this verdict because this entire month they have been working towards selling the over-the-counter drug by the end of December. FDA commissioners are also surprised at the decision. They already took into account the question of younger girls understanding the use of the drug and they think the age limit should be lifted. An FDA commissioner said, “There is adequate and reasonable, well-supported and science-based evidence that Plan B One-Step is safe and effective and should be approved for nonprescription use for all females of child-bearing potential.”

Although many major doctors’ groups and women’s health advocates argue that making these pill quickly and easily accessible would lower the high number of our nation’s unplanned pregnancies; the decision has been made and the people of the country, as well as doctors, must abide by this new rule.

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